New groups protest at shale gas
Published: 28th Sep 2011 07:59:44
An increasing number of groups are being set up in the UK to oppose local plans to drill for shale gas.
The process, which is often called fracking, is controversial, with claims that it harms the environment.
Several groups of campaigners recently took part in a camp to protest against drilling in Lancashire, whilst a separate group marched against proposals in Cowbridge in South Wales.
But what is inspiring people that have not been involved in environment campaigns to start protesting about this?
"Like the campaign against the third runway at Heathrow airport, fracking is something that worries more than just people local to where the drilling could happen," says Philip Mitchell from the Green Party in Blackpool.
Despite his party membership, he says he had not previously been on an environmental protest until the recent camp: "I am concerned that, like in America, fracking could impact on communities and the countryside," he says.
Fracking is the process of using high powered jets of liquid containing chemicals to break up underground rock so that it releases natural gas for fuel.
It's hoped that it could provide a secure source of energy in the UK, which is a key part of the government's energy policy.
But drilling in Lancashire was suspended earlier this year after two minor earthquakes near Blackpool in June, and in the US some householders near drilling sites claim the chemicals used and the gas it releases pollutes local water, and can even cause it to ignite.
Cuadrilla Resources, a company carrying out Hydraulic Fracturing in the UK, says its techniques are well tested and safe.
They say producing more gas in the UK will lower the cost of energy for consumers in a time when importing fuel is expensive, and that trying to find shale gas and then exploiting it will create thousands of jobs.
Exploration in Wales suggests there could be £70bn worth of gas stored in underground rock.
But campaigners claim more than a hundred people attended "Camp Frack" in Banks, Lancashire where Cuadrilla Resources is carrying out test drilling.
Amongst them was Allie Connolly, who travelled almost 300 miles from his home in Brighton to take part.
He says as well worrying about the possibility of immediate damage, "fracking is scraping the bottom of the fossil fuel barrel when we should be developing alternative sources of energy".
Connolly set up a website called frack-off.org.uk last summer, and says he can imagine the spread of the shale gas industry around the country.
"There are a lot of people that feel very strongly about this, and there are new groups popping up all over the place to oppose plans for drilling".
At the moment there are planning applications for exploration north of Woodnesborough in Kent, for the Llandow Industrial Estate in South Wales and an application to extend drilling at the Preese Hall Well in Lancashire.
On the same day as Camp Frack started, protestors marched past Cowbridge town hall in South Wales against a proposal for exploratory drilling for shale gas on the Llandow Industrial Estate.
Vale of Glamorgan Council is considering an application by Eden Energy and Coastal Oil and Gas Limited, and have held a special meeting for residents to voice their concerns.
A decision on the plans is expected by late September, but permission has already been granted for exploration near Maesteg in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Louise Evans runs Llandow Caravan Park, which is a mile away from the proposed exploration site.
She was so worried about the impact it could have on her business she set up the group "The Vale Says No", which is her first foray into environmental campaigning.
The group recently held a meeting to explain their concerns to local people, Louise says more than 200 people came, and many of them had never been part of a protest group before.
"Many of them were older people - not stereotypical environmental campaigners. We're worried about the impact fracking will have on the countryside, and that if the land becomes contaminated it could harm farming and might drive away tourists," she says.
There are calls for the Welsh and UK governments to establish a policy on shale gas exploration, although MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee rejected safety concerns and recommended that drilling be allowed.
But with Cuadrilla Resources claiming there is 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in shale under the Bowland Basin in Lancashire which could provide power well into the future, as well as its extraction possibly creating more than 5,600 jobs, the controversial issue of fracking is likely to be with us for some time to come.
At 05:47:55 in HeadlinesThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid their respects to Australia's war dead on the final day of their tour.
At 05:42:09 in HeadlinesIn the past 10 years, 80 people aged 21 and under have killed themselves in prison - the government has set up a review to find out why so many young people die in custody. One mother explains what it is like to have a child die behind bars.
At 05:06:03 in HeadlinesA US judge has ordered a hearing to consider new evidence relating to the 1987 double-murder conviction of a British businessman in Miami.
At 04:53:55 in HeadlinesIran has cut state subsidies on petrol in a move that saw prices rise at midnight by up to 75%.
At 04:41:10 in HeadlinesUS President Barack Obama is in Seoul for a visit that comes amid concern that North Korea may be planning a fourth nuclear test.
At 04:36:51 in BusinessConsumer prices in Tokyo rose at their fastest pace in 22 years in April, surging 2.7% from a year earlier, according to preliminary data.
At 04:10:36 in BusinessEd Miliband will unveil plans to tackle the "epidemic" of zero-hours contracts in a speech in Scotland later.
At 03:47:29 in HeadlinesBolivia's military chiefs have ordered the dismissal of more than 700 troops who have been protesting to demand better working conditions.
At 03:35:43 in WorldWith the World Cup just six weeks away and the Olympics on the horizon, social dysfunction in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro is subject to increasing international scrutiny.
At 03:28:21 in HeadlinesUK science is to get one of the biggest, most capable polar research vessels in the world.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. New groups protest at shale gas [Online] (Updated 28th Sep 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/189434/New-groups-protest-at-shale-gas [Accessed 25th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
As Liverpool fans dare to dream of a first league title in 24 years the club has revealed its own lofty plans for their ground.
A village museum in East Sussex will go up against Tate Britain and the new £35m Mary Rose Museum in a contest to be named the UK's museum of the year.
Ten candidates will be vying for three European parliament seats in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.
A new online map of England and Wales allows people to enter their postcode and find their community's risk of developing 14 conditions, such as heart disease and lung cancer.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first appearance in a Munich court on Thursday, accused of giving a £27.5m ($45m, 33m euros) bribe to a German banker.